, Volume 111, Issue 3, pp 363-371

Transcription factors in plants: Physiological functions and regulation of expression

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Abstract

The control of gene expression in plants, as in all other living organisms, is essential for regulation of biological processes, such as body planning, development, differentiation and responses to various environmental signals. Transcription is the initial step at which genes are selected for expression and for modulation of levels of expression. In efforts to elucidate the mechanisms that control gene expression in plants, numerous DNA-binding proteins that interact with plant promoters have been identified and the corresponding cDNAs have been cloned. Some of these proteins are structurally similar to well-characterized transcription factors in animal or yeast cells, while others seem to be unique to plants. Recent studies of plant transcription factors have suggested the biological and molecular functions of several factors. It also appears that post-transcriptional control of levels of transcription factors, as well as the strictly controlled expression of their genes, both temporally and spatially, may be important in the regulation of expression of target genes. This review summarizes recent findings related to the physiological functions of plant transcription factors and the regulation of their activities.